Independence approach #1: how I began my summer vacation

You think it is going to wonderful.
You imagine long walks and reading in the hammock together.
You have the sun block and the corn chips and the sketchbooks.
You are sure it will be fine.

Until the reality of summer vacation with teenagers takes form.

Then, you have peevish folks who’d rather not talk to you about every little thing.
They’d prefer to slather their own sun block on their tawny body parts revealed by shorts or shirts once considered too…something…short, tight, grown-up.

But this is not about the egregious act of children maturing.

No, this is about the first day of summer and no matter what the age, you, the mother, are still responsible for the way they spend their time.

What is my worst fear? That they will burn down the house while napping with a baseball soundtrack making null the alert of the smoke alarms?
(I am the main culprit of food warming left on the stove top for too long. See my crispy rice and beans just set before me?)

Or that they’d have a sex-a-thon here on sheets peppered with rocket ships or fairies?

Or perhaps the worst of all scenarios they’d up and decide they really don’t need me so much any more so what do I have to talk about?

Yesterday I flung myself on the spiked rocks littering the shores of my storm-tossed sea. I pierced myself silly. I stormed around the house bickering with my daughter, thinking my offers of ‘things to do’ would pull her from her newly Face booked day, her graduated from 8th grade bigness and urge her back under my wing.

She was having none of me.

So I left. I headed north for an appointment. It is a gorgeous drive to Williamstown. The green assaulted me. It repaired my wounds and sewed me up with some sanity born of a quiet drive and spotty enough cell coverage so I could not meddle nor multi-task the whole trip.

I headed up to Mount Greylock after the appointment and a decent lunch and the purchase of 2 moon flower vines, one for my peevish daughter and one for me…or here, try this-.  one for my luminously independent offspring and one for me, formerly peevish but also newly independent.

There in the wind at 3,491’ above sea level, I could organize myself once more. Pulled far enough away from the nagging chatter about what I think my offspring or I should be doing, I sketched and wrote and listened.

Last week at the Blog World Expo in New York City, Marcus Sheridan, a Social Media lion said,

“The moment you become a listener, 

you will never run out of ideas.”

This works for mothering and for creating solid content in my writing, eh?

I heard the songbirds and the wind in the balsam, there in the taiga of Massachusetts.

I heard my passionate press to express.

I heard my daughter’s wings taking flight, not yet fully fledged, but nearly independent.

I heard my son’s voice, seeking me, reassuring me and loving me, right where I am.

On Thursday, I will be posting a series of photos on the theme of ‘independence’ in answer to a call for submissions to Alchemy Initiative. Little did I know that considering this theme also would mean letting it reflect my whole life.
There is a second chapter to yesterday which if I don’t tell you, I won’t get to the best part. And, here, I am snubbing the best social media advice to have these posts be readable and actionable and in bigger font and darker type.

Can you read me here?

I found a website last night of a group of women doing the same thing I am doing with ‘Out of the Mouths of Babes’. Before I came to the land of plenty, the land of enough ideas and space and interest for all our ideas around mothering and creativity, I spent some time feeling that someone had made it to the top before me.

How did I manage this feeling having just gained a tenuous state of confidence upon Mount Greylock?

I didn’t.

I crashed again.

So, I did what any Sister Goddess would do:
I put on my new nightgown, jumped in the car again and drove to a near-by field where I knew the summer night was alight with fireflies.

There, surrounded by more than I can count, little glowing orbs bouncing in the blackness, soft air, soft golden spots of assurance that yes, there is room for my voice here, yes, perhaps this new sense of independence still holds familiar tasks and requires new lessons for me to learn about letting my children be who they are, without my slathering them in my attention, or sun block.

Firefly night, grown-up lady standing in pink nightie in the grassy sward.

Here I am.
That was yesterday.
This is today.

I am as independent as ever and as depended upon as ever and relying on my children to explore while still tethered here, to my heart.

Summer time has come.
Let the lightening begin.


art by Apple Moskowitz

Here is the action part of this post.

Go here to read Sou MacMillan’s (a.k.a Apple Moskowitz) exquisite post about mothering, art and taking a time away to reflect. Please welcome her artwork and her presence in the ‘Out of the Mouths of Babes’ blog series II with me. Warmth, sisterhood, shared stories and descriptions of our own journeys made while mothering…yes, there is room for us all here.





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Showing 4 comments
  • janet

    the fireflies! the nightie! powerful image to keep me afloat. xoxo

  • Nancy Burns

    douglass truth sent me to your page… gorgeous post, thank you for your beautiful work

  • Rachel Barenblat

    My friend Kate Abbott pointed me to your blog, and I’m so glad I came. You write beautifully about this moment in parenthood — a different one than where I’m at (I just posted about the transition from crib to big-kid bed!) but it’s always good, and always strange, to get a glimpse of where we are someday heading…

  • Suz Birdsall

    First of all this is just great. Second of all I was in the middle of reading it when my friend said “are you ready to go out to the field to see the fireflies” and I said “wait a minute – I want to finish reading this blog” so….when it ended with you in the field with the fireflies I first of all couldn’t believe it and second of all just had to put on MY pink pjs in an act of solidarity! They were beautiful, beautiful. (the pjs and the fireflies)